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  • Writer's pictureSuresh Randadath

Cleaner Teeth and Unclean Environment

In June 2019, I wrote to Colgate with the following suggestion:

Billions of plastic toothbrushes are thrown away across the planet when only the bristles are damaged. Why can't the toothbrush be designed in such a way that the bristle head is detachable and can be replaced with a new bristle head. This way the handle of the brush is not thrown away into the landfill. All those plastics that we throw away takes hundreds of years to decompose and many of them reach our oceans as well threatening marine life. We are leaving behind a planet that is fast becoming unlivable for our children and grandchildren. If Colgate can manufacture such brushes, it will have a significant positive impact to the environment. Looking forward to a favorable response from you. Thank you!


1. Environment will be less polluted with plastic.

2. More affordable to people.

3. Our children and their grandchildren will thank us for leaving behind the planet that has less plastic waste around

4. Marine life will be able to live a healthy life by not eating the plastic waste that reaches our oceans.

Colgate Palmolive Submission #40YWRETK Accepted

Thank you for your submission #40YWRETK. Your information has been sent to our OI Portal team for review and you will be contacted shortly. A confirmation email will soon be sent to you to confirm this submission.


Response from Colgate:

From: Colgate-Palmolive Consumer Affairs

Subject: Response to Your Email

Hi Suresh,

Thank you for taking the time to make your views known to us. We share your concern about all issues involving protection of the environment.

We have already made significant strides in honoring our commitment to environmentally safe packaging. As the leader in Oral Care, we are especially proud to share that, as the result of a breakthrough innovation, our global toothpaste laminate packaging is the most efficient material in the oral care category, saving over 2,000 tons of plastic laminate annually, while maintaining the product performance and integrity of our toothpaste.

On an ongoing basis, we actively pursue technology relating to the development of more sustainable packages. A team of professionals within our company evaluates new package designs with a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) tool in order to optimize our packaging.

In consultation with As You Sow, Colgate has developed new packaging sustainability commitments for 2020:


As part of our 2020 Sustainability Strategy, Colgate is committing resources to enable breakthrough innovation in oral care packaging. We are also committing to work with stakeholders to drive continuous improvement in local recycling systems.

We have already teamed up with TerraCycle, and they have created almost 10,000 Oral Care Brigade locations across the US to collect used toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes which will be turned into new products and materials, keeping that waste from landfill. To learn more about this program and TerraCycle visit


Colgate is committed to increasing the recycled content of our packaging across all product categories. We have already exceeded our 2015 goal to increase recycled content of our packages by 20 percent by 2015. We will increase the recycled content in our packaging to 50 percent by 2020.


We have eliminated all heavy metals from the inks and colorants used in our packages.

We believe in continuous improvement and will continue to look for ways we can help protect our planet. For more information on our commitment to sustainability please click here

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We hope this information is helpful. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers.


Kevin L Minniear

Consumer Affairs Representative


My Response to their repsonse on 26 June 2019

Consumer Affairs,

This is regarding the enquiry I made on reducing the plastic waste generation due to the traditional tooth brush design (enquiry number #131564991A). I appreciate your quick response to my query. Your initiative to recycle the waste products is indeed commendable. Thank you for your effort. I live in India and I am not sure if you have similar recycling programmes outside of the US. If not, I would request you to expand this to other countries as well.

While recycling is an important part of the overall effort to make our world plastic garbage free, equally important is to reduce the production of plastic based products. My query was about redesigning the conventional tooth brush itself so that only the bristle head needs to be replaced, instead of the entire tooth brush, when the bristles get worn out. Please let me know if this is something that can be taken up in the future.

People driven recycling programmes (in other words, asking consumers to send the left over products for recycling) may not work in developing countries as the discipline to follow such practices sadly lack in many countries. So I still feel reducing the production of plastic based products is a healthy option.

Please let me know if my suggestion can be considered.

Thank you

Yours truly



I am still waiting for further response from Colgate......

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